2011-12-04 "Benicia may tap Sonoma State for environmental project" by Tony Burchyns from "Vallejo Times-Herald"
BENICIA -- Sonoma State University's environmental studies program could help the city reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
City officials recommend hiring the university's Center for Sustainable Communities to coordinate Benicia's Climate Action Plan.
Adopted in 2009, the plan includes 115 strategies for lowering the city's greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this year, city officials and a city panel focused on water and energy savings, recommended hiring a consultant to help implement plan.
The panel, the Benicia Community Sustainability Commission, will review the proposal at a special meeting Monday night. If it gives its approval and the City Council ultimately agrees, the Sonoma State team would begin work in early 2012, city officials said.
One member of the university's team would work from City Hall three days a week.
City officials recommended partnering with the university after interviewing several candidates for the job last month. According to the city, the school was the "best suited to successfully complete the project."
"Them team's enthusiasm for the project and familiarity with greenhouse gas reduction reporting" were key factors setting its members apart from other candidates, Public Works and Community Development Management Analyst Gina Eleccion said.
A $150,000 budget for the partnership would be funded by the Valero/Good Neighbor Steering Committee Agreement. The agreement settled an environmental dispute over upgrades to Valero's Benicia refinery, and provided millions of dollars to the city for water and energy conservation projects.
The commission will meet at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 250 E. L St.